How do I describe this masterful writing? It’s a debut novel about a lonely, nature-loving girl. It’s a best seller. I usually avoid reading those titles although I check the list weekly. This book surpasses them all. Oh, I almost forgot, several respected friends recommended this title to me. Was there too much hype about this book? I waited and decided to finally read it when it was gifted to me.
Where the Crawdads Sing reminds me of the language in Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See. With each of these books, I couldn’t read in my usual fast pace. I had to read and re-read passages to fully immerse myself in the images these brilliant writers create.
Delia Owens caught me about 100 pages in with her purposeful repetition and alliteration. “And when a swell surged beneath them, his thighs brushed against hers and her breathing stopped.” Can’t you feel the waves and the sexual tension? She captured my attention and held it until the last page.
From that quoted sentence on, I didn’t want to put the book down, but I did stop reading to savor each scene, relive each emotion she wove around Kya, her main character. I could sense every detail of nature as well as the human emotion in this girl so unlike me. Somehow the author made her relatable.
The truths Owens revealed on each page are universal. We all feel alone and unwanted sometimes. Most of us readers have lives different from this isolated child who grew to womanhood almost totally self-reliant.
I wanted to adopt Kya, to reach her and teach her about companionship she intuited intimately, but which she only witnessed in deer and insects and the creatures around her beloved marsh. This book is not about nature alone: it is about how nature explains human life if we are only as observant as Kya was.
This slow-moving lyrical plot and complex character development sneaked up on me like a swarm of flying insects I want to ignore. But I could not abandon this book; it drew me in until the last word on the final page. The memory of it will live after I pass it on to a family member who wants to read it next.
How can we be lonely when we have authors like Delia Owens who draw us into the world where the crawdads sing? What a gift to me and to all who read this book.
Happy Summer Reading!
What is my gift? I share it with you and myself. I read; I remember; and I pass the memories on. Books, food, musical plays: the magic is all around us. Let’s find the optimism in the New Year of 2016 together.
My writer friend, Erika Robuck, offered her 10 favorite titles in historical fiction. Her list on her blog Muse https://erikarobuck.wordpress.com/, a great readers’ and writers’ blog, was brilliant. Recommendations from writers you respect help to whet your appetite for a To Be Read List. The library will be my next stop to find these gems she and others have selected for our reading pleasure.
I hope you readers who follow this blog will share your favorites that you loved in 2015 and more titles you plan to read in 2016! The list will be eclectic, I know, just the type of reading we enjoy. My Good Reads challenge was fun and my goal was realized and even as a personal contest, it will be a competition I savor each year. 52 + adult books was manageable for me this past year reading all genres; I added to this list with many great children’s literature titles. 75 may be a pleasurable challenge for 2016.
New reading review blogs inspire me each month. Readers who recommend the many genres we love provide entertaining reading and great new titles to read and share. Follow my new friends who suggest books and share your thoughts about the books you read. Erica at www.whatdowedoallday.com and my Book Lover’s friend Sarah at https://ivejustfinishedreading.wordpress.com enlighten me each time I open my emails.
I found writing a novel exasperating, so I will continue to write this blog and gift my book suggestions to you. Out of the 57 Adult titles I read last year in my reading challenge, I choose these 6 exemplary, unforgettable novels:
- All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (WWII HF)
- The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult (Literary Fiction)
- Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King (Mystery)
- The Luncheon of the Boating Party by Susan Vreeland (HF)
- The House of Hawthorne by Erika Robuck (HF)
- Tomorrow’s Vengeance by Marcia Talley (Cosy mystery)
Happy Reading in 2016!
All the Light We Cannot See appeared in my dream the other night, so I knew this important title would be the focus of this blog post. After mysteries, historical fiction is my favorite genre. I am exploring what makes historical fiction so compelling and reveals the truth of our history?
All the Light We Cannot See is a perfect example to answer that question. When an author describes using each of his senses in his setting, you are transported into the lives of the characters. You can taste, smell and touch the places the author has revealed in his words. Many authors pepper in visual descriptions, so you can see what the characters see. But when an author such as Anthony Doerr reminds us of the other senses, we are there during a bombing raid or living in a tenement or hearing the rush of the ocean in Ocean City.
Anthony Doerr shows exemplary skill in this title using his senses because his main character is blind. Marie-Laure is taught by her father to explore her sightless world so she can live an independent life. She becomes aware of each brick, manhole cover, and scent in her neighborhood and we experience her scientific and literary world along with her.
Werner, Marie-Laure’s counterpart in this story, uses his fine sense of touch and hearing as he explores the world of radio waves. I do not understand the science, but I was transported to the bombed out basement with Werner when he scanned “frequencies by feel.” Read this book to see what a master Doerr is with language and sensual description!
What other historical fiction titles can compare to this new masterpiece? I have Erika Robuck to thank for reminding me of recent evocative historical fiction titles. Her TopTen of 2014 is a wonder and it includes Doerr’s latest title. Check out her blog MUSE for a list you will want on your bedside table.
Since I often switch from adult books to children’s literature, I’ll recommend a few extra bonus books here. Karen Cushman, Katherine Paterson and Avi are masters in this genre for middle grade readers. You will be surprised at the tightness and the concepts in the writing these authors present which will interest adults as well as children. My favorite children’s review blog will inspire you to read even more of these great ones. www.ThisKidReviewsBooks.com
Until next time: Happy Reading in 2015!